It’s the heart of your home. The room everyone gravitates to — the kitchen.

With just a few simple steps for streamlining the way your kitchen functions you can really enhance your life in the kitchen and in your home!

Step 1: Clear the counters. Simply clearing off the kitchen countertops is the easiest and single most effective way for gaining a quick sense of control, maximizing the space and brightening up the kitchen. Add a sleek upright bin or basket to corral the daily mail if you simply must have a drop off point on your counter but make it a point that any time this ‘sort me please’ basket of papers is gathered, all contents must be culled, sorted and put away before the end of the day! Store away the kitchen blender and any other small appliances that are not used very frequently.

Step 2: Streamline your kitchen ‘stuff’. Gain more storage in your kitchen cabinets and drawers by getting rid of anything your family doesn’t use. Paring down the amount of coffee mugs and kitchen utensils, for instance, can add space in a jiffy.

There is no need to keep every souvenir gift mug you’ve ever received. Let’s face it, do you really need 17 coffee mugs for a family of four when only two people actually drink coffee?

Step 3: Re-think where you store kitchen items. Best way to utilize space you have in your kitchen is to divide the kitchen into different activity zones. Place corresponding items within that zone. For example, the ‘cooking zone,’ near the stove would have oven mitts and pots and pans nearby, the ‘serving zone,’ closest to the eating area, would have your everyday dishes and flatware within reach. Other zones to consider: Food preparation zone, food storage zone, clean-up zone, entertaining zone, or even a pet supply zone.

Step 4: Make sure everything is accessible. If you need to remove the punch bowl or the measuring cup every time you have to pull out the mixing bowl, it is less likely you will place them back where they need to go. Find a convenient, user-friendly ‘home’ for all kitchen items used regular so proper placement afterward will be a breeze!

Step 5: Remove the refrigerator magnets: Nothing serves as a clutter focal point to kitchens more than these tacky vacation magnets holding papers and photos like a crowded bulletin board!

Step 6: Use plastic containers to store large dry food items, such as bags of dog food, to prevent spillage and contamination. This also streamlines the products on cabinet shelves so that it not only looks neater but you can also clearly see what is where and when you run out of something.

Lisa Lelas is a productivity coach, author and book publishing coach.: www.LisaLelas.com

Connecticut Media Group